Holly, as to whether we can discuss the details of …

Comment on LSU-3 Case Moves Forward in Riverside Court by David Read.

Holly, as to whether we can discuss the details of the recording online, I think we can. The cat’s out of the bag, now. They’ve been discussing it at Spectrum for a long time, and they’re discussing it again today.

A public court case where three employees have sued LaSierra and several other church affiliated entities makes the recording news. I think any threat to sue websites over that material would be a transparent attempt to muzzle a free press, and an obvious violation of California’s Anti-SLAPP statute, which was drafted to protect people against being sued for exercising their First Amendment rights.

But the final decision is obviously up to the moderator of this site.

David Read Also Commented

LSU-3 Case Moves Forward in Riverside Court
Holly, I think Sean Pitman is moderating this site pretty much by himself. Shane Hilde is focusing his energies on a new site, Advindicate.com. I’ve written a couple of articles for that site.

BTW, I stand by what I’ve said previously. California law is very protective of folks who are sued essentially to muzzle their First Amendment right of free speech, so I don’t think there is much danger in anyone suing Sean or Shane on the pretext that details of the recording are being discussed on this site. Anyone who did that would be more likely to end up with a judgment against himself than against Sean or Shane.

LSU-3 Case Moves Forward in Riverside Court
Ken, I haven’t formally researched the issue, so I’m not giving a formal legal opinion. However, I don’t think an inadvertent recording of a conversation among four people is a “work” of intellectual property for purposes of the copyright law. It isn’t like a book, a computer program, sheet music, or a musical recording. So I don’t think that concepts like copyright and public domain really apply to the recording in question.

It is also known that Darnell himself sent out copies of the recording to Spectrum and others. From there it was heard by many people, and transcribed, and was ultimately heard by Ricardo Graham, who used it as the reason for demanding resignations from the four people whose conversation was recorded.

Presumably, had the four chosen not to resign, the recording would have been featured prominently in any administrative action or faculty hearing to remove the four from their positions.

Then, three of the people filed a lawsuit alleging that it was unlawful for Graham to use the recording as a basis to demand their resignations from various posts at La Sierra. The details of the recording will doubtless become known during the discovery process in the civil lawsuit.

After the lawsuit was filed and became big news within the Adventist denomination, hundreds more people listened to the recording and have frequently commented about the particulars and details of the recording on public forums such as Spectrum’s website.

So, at this point, I believe that the recording has become news, and very compelling news within the Seventh-day Adventist community of North America. Hence, I think that the recording may be posted and discussed by bloggers and news organizations under the protection of the First Amendment right of freedom of the press to report on, and blog about, public news stories. Since that is the case, a lawsuit filed or even threatened against such a blogger or news organization would probably cause the filer to be liable under California’s Anti-SLAPP statute.

SLAPP stands for “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation” and SLAPP suits frequently allege defamation, libel, slander and invasion of privacy. The California anti-SLAPP law was enacted to protect the petition and free speech rights of Californians.

California’s anti-SLAPP statute provides for a special motion to strike a complaint where the complaint arises from activity exercising the rights of petition and free speech. In addition, SLAPP victims can recover their attorneys fees and other damages through a SLAPPback (malicious prosecution action) against the original SLAPP filers and their attorneys after the underlying SLAPP has been dismissed.

The anti-SLAPP statute is designed to “level the playing field” and discourage entities with deep pockets from using the threat of lawsuit to intimidate smaller entities with limited ability to pay legal fees into choosing not to exercise their right of free speech and public participation.

LSU-3 Case Moves Forward in Riverside Court
Holly, the word “illegal” is broad, and requires more than a one word, yes or no answer.

What the trial court ruled in the LSU-3 case, response to the church’s demurrer, is that the recording was not made in violation of California state wiretapping laws. In other words, the making of the recording was not a criminal act because it was not made with criminal intent, but was made inadvertently. So the recording is legal in the sense that it did not violate a criminal statute.

Here’s the part of the transcript where the court made that ruling:

* * * *

“Of course, I’m familiar with Penal Code Section 832.21. La Sierra argues there’s no allegations that Darnell intentionally activated the tape recorder, in violation of the Penal Code, and that even if he did, La Sierra could not be held liable under Warden versus Kahn, which is a 1979 case, 99 Cal.App.3d 805. . . . Here there’s no allegation that Darnell recorded the private conversation with, quote, “intent to do so.” Instead, the complaint alleges that Darnell recorded the faculty meeting, but that the board member, I’m assuming refers to Mr. Darnell, was unaware at the time that the digital recording contained anything other than a recording of the special faculty meeting. So I would then, tentatively, indicate that I would sustain the demurrer only as to the first cause of action, since it’s based upon a statutory violation, and is not alleged that the tape recording occurred with the requisite, quote, “intent.”

* * * *

However, it seemed to me from reading the transcript that the court was hinting that the use of the recording in this case to effectively force Bradley to retire, and the 3 other people to relinquish their administrative positions, may have been tortious. The part of the transcript I refer to is here:

* * * *

MR. CONNALLY: Your Honor has found that they didn’t violate the law. So that 17,200 claim needs to fall.

THE COURT: I didn’t find that they didn’t violate the law.

MR. CONNALLY: Well, Your Honor, I’m sorry. I maybe overstated it.

THE COURT: Yeah, I think you did.

MR. CONNALLY: What you found was that they had not pled that there was an intentional recording —

THE COURT: Correct.

* * * * *

This portion seems to indicate that the judge may think that, although the recording itself did not violate criminal wiretapping statutes, there is something else about the recording or its use by Ricardo Graham in this case that was “illegal.” Or at least that is what I would infer from the court’s comments.

Recent Comments by David Read

LSU Removes Dr. Lee Grismer as Chairman of the Biology Department
@Pauluc: I do not agree that science must be naturalistic, but if that is your bottom line, it will not trouble me much where it concerns most day-to-day science–the study of current, repeating phenomena. But a rigid naturalism applied to origins morphs into philosophical atheism. Hence, mainstream origins science is not science but atheistic apologetics. This is what should not be done at an Adventist school, but sadly what has been the rule at La Sierra.

Dr. Paul Cameron and the God of the Gaps
@Pauluc: The Adventist doctrine of creation is that God created the world in six days and rested on the Seventh day and hallowed it. (Gen. 2:2-3; Ex. 20:11) Do you believe that doctrine? It won’t do to say that you accept some vague “Christian doctrine of creation.” The Seventh-day Adventist Church has a very specific mission to call people back to the worship of the creator God, on the day that He hallowed at the creation.

You say you believe that the “core doctrine of Christianity is the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ,” but what was Jesus Christ incarnated to do? Wasn’t his mission to redeem fallen humanity, to be the second Adam who succeeded where the first Adam failed? And doesn’t your view of origins make nonsense of a perfect creation, a literal Adam who fell, and the need for redemption because of Adam’s sin? You seem to want to gloss over all the very profound differences you have not only with Seventh-day Adventist dcotrine, but with the most basic reasons that Seventh-day Adventism exists.

The syncretistic hodgepodge religion you’ve created for yourself, combining elements of a biblical world view (the incarnation) and elements of a pagan worldview (a self-created creation) is not Adventism. It is anti-Seventh-day Adventism.

LSU Removes Dr. Lee Grismer as Chairman of the Biology Department
@Holly Pham: Holly, I will try, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

LSU Removes Dr. Lee Grismer as Chairman of the Biology Department
@Pauluc: Since no creationist could land a job as chairman of a biology department at a public university, it seems entirely appropriate that no Darwinist should be given the chairmanship of a biology department of a Seventh-day Adventist college.

The SDA educational system doesn’t exist to expensively duplicate the public university system. It exists to provide a uniquely biblical and Seventh-day Adventist education to interested young people. If mainstream origins science is correct in its assumptions and conclusions about our origins, the entire enterprise of Seventh-day Adventism is an utterly foolish waste of time. So at Adventist institutions, our professors should assume that Darwinistic science is false, and that creationistic science is true (just the reverse of how it is done at public universities), and proceed accordingly.

LSU Removes Dr. Lee Grismer as Chairman of the Biology Department
@gene fortner: What I like about your list of topics, Gene, is that it points out that many disciplines are implicated in the necessary change of worldview. It isn’t just biology and geology, although those are the main ones. History, archeology, anthropology and other disciplines should also be approached from a biblical worldview. The biblical worldview should pervade the entire curriculum.